Crispy baked chicken drumsticks and thighs are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Just coat the pieces of chicken legs with seasonings and cook in the oven.
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I created a healthy chicken legs recipe to use up some frozen chicken in our freezer. The cooking method used makes the outside nice and crispy. It’s perfect for making chicken drumsticks and or thighs in the oven.
These crispy baked chicken legs are so simple to make. You’ll just need to coat the chicken pieces with a spice blend then bake. It couldn’t get any easier!
Ingredients for Crispy Baked Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs
There really isn’t much to this baked chicken leg quarters recipe. I used five whole chicken legs that I cut into thighs and drumsticks. Then I dumped them in a large zipper bag to coat each piece with seasonings.
The seasonings I used were a Cajun blend, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and black pepper. It’s a nice combination of spices for baked chicken legs and thighs.
I find that kosher salt sticks to the meat better than regular salt. But if you don’t have it any regular table salt can be used instead.
How to bake crispy chicken legs
There’s very little work involved to make these crispy baked chicken drumsticks and thighs. It’s one of the easiest keto recipes to make when you need a no fuss dinner.
I like to use a big zipper bag to coat the seasoning onto the chicken. But you can mix the spices in a small bowl then rub it onto the chicken if you prefer. The seasoned chicken is then placed onto a baking sheet greased with a little cooking spray.
To make the chicken crispy, I bake it in a 450°F preheated oven at the start of cooking. This crisps up the outside skin. But you have to be careful not to burn the outside.
After about 15 minutes, the oven temperature is reduced to 375°F until the meat is done. For a slower cook, it’s best to bake at 350 degrees or less at the end. It will just require a longer cooking time.
The best way to determine whether the meat is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. This also ensures that you don’t overcook the meat which can make it dry.
I put the thermometer into a thick area on one of the chicken thighs near the bone. The meat is done when it reaches 165°F.
Seasoning the chicken pieces
Baking at a high temperature first and then lowering the temperature to finish cooking is what’s important in this crispy baked chicken drumsticks recipe. It’s not the spice blend. I often add a little bit of this and that when it comes to spices without really measuring things out.
Feel free to adjust the seasoning blend to suit your taste. I love spicy food and the amount of cayenne in the recipe was too much for my husband and son, but not enough for me.
Smoked paprika gives a touch of sweetness as well as a lovely color. I used a cajun spice blend because I had it, but you can replace that with seasonings of your choice.
Other Baked Chicken Leg Recipes
Want another great keto chicken thigh recipe? Take a look at my keto fried chicken. It can bee cooked in an air fryer or the oven.
The following wing recipes can also be made with chicken leg pieces instead:
It would be boring to eat the same baked drumsticks recipe over and over. That’s why it’s great to spice things up a bit or change it around with different chicken leg and thigh recipes.
The keto chicken dish that my family enjoys most is my Filipino chicken adobo. It’s a classic in our home. But my family loves this crispy baked chicken drumsticks and thighs recipe too!
For another easy baked dish, try a simple asparagus stuffed chicken.
Kitchen Tools Used
The following items are used in the recipe:
- Zipper Bag or Covered Container
- 2 Sheet Pans
- Meat Thermometer
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Crispy Baked Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs (Legs)
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- 5 whole chicken legs cut into thighs and drumsticks
- 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine all spices in a large zipper bag.
- Line two jelly roll pans with foil and place cooling racks on top of each.
- Coat each piece of chicken with spices by shaking in the bag.
- Place each coated piece of chicken on baking rack.
- Bake at 450°F for the first 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 375°F. Bake until skin is crispy, about 30 minutes longer. Meat is done when thermometer reads 165°F near bone.
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Note on Nutritional Information
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Post updated in April 2019. Originally published March 2016.